This week’s Torah portion begins with the words, “Paroh Cholem V’Hineh Omed Al-Hay’or — Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.” If we take this simple phrase and translate it literally, we could read it as, “Pharaoh was dreaming; and behold he stood on the river.” What is the difference between Pharaoh “had a dream” and Pharaoh was “dreaming?” Why does it matter if Pharaoh “stood by the river” or “stood on the river?”
I believe the difference between the wordings of this verse is important for us in our time. You see, Pharaoh “dreaming” of “standing on the river” can be viewed in today’s jargon as: Pharaoh dreamt of himself, standing on top of “river of life” as the image of success. What is the problem with this scenario? The problem was that Pharaoh was only dreaming. Too often people dream of being successful and making a difference in the world. Yet these ideas remain dreams, and the river of life flows past, inviting everyone/anyone to jump in—but most would rather dream of success from the safety of the riverbank than risk taking a “plunge.”
Joseph, on the other hand, is one who lives life with his dreams not in the back of his mind, but rather, in the forefront. Joseph was willing to take risks in order to see his dreams fulfilled while not compromising his values or taking shortcuts.
Joseph was an eternal optimist. No matter the situation, he rose like a bobber in a stream; in his father’s house, in the house of Potiphar, in prison and finally in Pharaoh’s palace. The “Chutzpah–Audacity” of Joseph is the same which drives the pioneers living on the mountains of Israel today. The vision of their forefathers—a nation that is a light to the world—is their vision as well. Dreams remain dreams without direct, invested energy.
The contagious energy of the Jewish people in Judea and Samaria is hopefully making people all around the world realize that—with a little bit of sacrifice—Dreams become reality! Dare to Dream—then dare to do something about it!
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